While foragers will rightly tell you there is free food all year round for those who seek it out, there is certainly an abundance come September, a favourite month of ours and time for Foraging Fortnight (September 11-25).
Whether you feel like an off-grid wilderness experience, herbal tea tasting, fungi finding or a wild food workshop there is something for you!
There are events across Scotland listed at foragingfortnight.co.uk along with some super videos and recipes to inspire you.
My Wild Inspired Workshop is on September 19 and can be found at wendybarrie.co.uk
Taking the air along the Fife coastline we watch the progress of the ripening elderberries, check out the brambles and gather the rowans.
Check over the berries, removing any wildlife, stalks and leaf debris. Place in a pan over a gentle heat, with sufficient water to barely cover the base to prevent the fruit from sticking.
It can be made with one fruit or a mix – I particularly like using brambles for their deep colour and intense flavour.
As the berries soften, help them along with a potato masher. When completely softened, pass the pulp through a fine sieve. It is well worth eradicating seeds, as wild fruits tend to have more than is desirable.
If using cultivated fruit, rasps for example, this isn’t necessary if you don’t mind a few seeds.
Stir in a little sugar as required – not oversweet – and return to heat to dissolve the grains.
The resulting puree should be of a thick honey consistency, so if watery, boil for a few minutes.
Pour thinly onto a tray lined with parchment and dry in a cool oven at 40-50C, or a dehydrator.
This will take at least six hours or so, until it is sufficiently set to be bendy but not unyielding.
It varies according to thickness and berries. It can be cut in ribbons and stored in an airtight tin or rolled up, on the parchment, sealed in clingfilm, until required.